NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It happens to pregnant women all the time – well-meaning people reach out to rub their bellies.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, it happens in the aisles of the local grocery store, at the mall, and out on the street. But not far away in Pennsylvania, it’s actually illegal.
Some women do not appreciate strangers’ hands on their bellies.
“They are looking, and always they’re trying to touch and trying to feel the baby,” said Yagmur, who is 9 months pregnant.
“A total stranger, I prefer to not,” said Michelle Siqueira, 6 months pregnant. She said a stranger touching her belly makes her uncomfortable.
“It would weird me out,” added Kelly Kloepfer, 6 months pregnant. “I wouldn’t like it at all.”
For some, it comes with the territory of pregnancy.
“I’m from Brazil, so this is a common thing that people in Brazil that people that you don’t know can touch your belly,” Siqueira said.
“In Turkey, they say that if you’re touching a pregnant woman, they say that you will get the energy and you will get pregnant too,” added Yagmur.
While many women said they are used to people feeling their pregnant bellies, some said it can be invasive.
But while there are no specific laws to stop a stranger from touching a woman’s belly in New York, women can actually press charges over it in Pennsylvania.
A law against touching pregnant bellies without permission has been on the books for a while in the Keystone State, but has gained attention lately after a man was accused of being a repeat offender. It falls under the state’s harassment law.
Some expectant mothers said the law seemed a bit extreme, and said they did not believe New York needed to pass a similar law.
“I don’t know if I’d actually go through with it, but it would maybe stop people from trying if they knew,” Kloepfer said.
“I mean, it’s a little strange, but I know people are trying to be nice, so it’s OK,” said Rachel Berenbaum, 5 months pregnant.
The women said at the very least, just ask for permission before you reach out.
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